The Natural Horse: Foundations for Natural Horsemanship, 2nd edition (1997), Star Ridge Publishing
Like many people unfamiliar with the history of America's wild, free-roaming horses, I had always thought that the wild horse was a "mustang", that is, a unique breed of horse. In reality, wild horses are feral horses, the offspings of domestic horses that have been turned loose, or escaped, into the wild. By wild, I mean the animals are not owned privately, and they basically fend from themselves without any care or supervision. Moreover, they live in some of America's most remote and sparsely populated high desert country.
What has particularly interested me about these horses is that, after thousands of years of domestication, they have adapted so successfully to life in the wild. If these horses are really as healthy and as sound as they appear, then there is probably a lot we can learn from them, such as the way their hooves are shaped and the manner in which they shape them.
Every system of horsemanship practiced in the horse world today should come into scrutiny.
The natural hoof, like natural locomotion, is what nature has intended for the hooves of the modern horse. The natural shaped hoof found among wild horses in the outback is nothing less than a structural masterpiece; it has no rivals among domesticated horses anywhere.
Variation is clearly nature's way.
The wild horse — healthy, prolific, and fully capable of surviving on its own — provides us with the perfect window through which to inquire, observe and learn about nature's grand plan for the quintessential natural horse.
Forsake the use of violence on defence of reason. Remember, horses are unique with minds of their own and need to be related to as such if we are ever to have enjoyable and productive relationship with them.
Don't lose temper with the horse — this ultimately defeat your best intentions.
Not all horse care practices are bad; some have evolved for very sound reasons. But for those practices where the intent is bad or the results are harmful or ineffective, it is time to go back to nature and think things over.
The vast majority of lameness in the domestic horse world cannot be understood properly or completely without considering the effects of abuse. Although many might argue to the contrary,most lameness among horses is really more an issue of ignorance, violence, and complicity than is of veterinary medicine; veterinar scools, clinics, and slaughterhouses are simply the processing stations that have to deal with it. What is not an issue here are injuries that stem from unfortunate accidents, where the horse enthusiasts made an honest miscalculation or innocently followed the bad advice of someome they trusted. What is of concern is abuse that results from neglect and bad intent.
Unfortunately, equine lameness has also become a booming business in the horse world.
The domestic horse world needs to usher in a new order of horsemanship, based upon the paradigm of the natural horse and rider.